Do It! Marketing Blog: Marketing for Smart People™

Marketing Speaker: The Stupidest Sales Rejection Ever

marketing speaker marketing coachHave you ever been rejected out of hand by a prospect who not only doesn't understand what it is you DO but - as a bonus - also told you they already have it taken care of in-house? 

It's like they're saying, "Uh, I don't know what that is, but we already have that here."

This is what I call rejection by ignorance (RBI). And it is one of the most frustrating things you'll run into as a marketing or sales executive - and certainly as an entrepreneurial business owner. 

Quick example from my world - and let's see how this story applies to YOU and YOUR products, services and value proposition...

First, a bit of background to set the context. As a marketing speaker and marketing coach, I market and sell to two audiences. 

1. For marketing coaching, I market to speakers, consultants, coaches, and independent experts.

2. For speaking, I market to conferences, associations and various industry groups. 

After reading this post, you will pick up some tools for marketing YOUR products and services better, smarter and faster - and you'll also see how to avoid one of the STUPIDEST sales rejections ever. 

Ready? Strap in - this could get ugly...

Oh, wait...

First, let me share a really good speaker prospecting letter with you. I use this one to get back in touch with speaking clients and also to cross-sell and upsell along the geographic hierarchy (local - state - regional - national) of organizations I've already spoken for.

(All names changed to protect.... well, you know!) Here it is: 

Dear Glenda,

I'm hoping you can help me. I'm trying to get in touch with the person responsible for selecting speakers for your [insert organization name] national conferences for two reasons:

1. To invite them to a conversation with me about exploring our possible fit for your speaker roster in 2013 - I presented an extremely well-received keynote at the regional [insert organization name] last year and would love to do more for [insert organization name].

The conference promo from last year is attached for your reference and the special welcome video I did for your group is here: [Youtube link]

2. If a high-energy, high-content marketing program is not a fit, I can recommend several other outstanding professional speakers to you because of my active involvement and leadership roles within the National Speakers Association.

Please do get back to me and let me know your thoughts.

-- David Newman

[Signature block]

So far, so good. And please DO use this letter template above if you're a speaker, consultant, or a professional who uses speaking to generate leads and revenue for your firm.

(And yes, you're very welcome!)

And now here's where things get stupid...

A very nice person forwarded my note to their national HQ. I got this 3-line email from HQ. Please keep your eye out for the aforementioned RBI - rejection by ignorance.


[Nice person] forwarded your email to me. I work with our conferences and events. Because of our arrangement with [corporate HQ], we do not have marketing speakers on our programs. [Our organization] has their own marketing division and provides the marketing support to all offices in the country, so it is not part of our professional development portfolio.


As best as I can tell, she's telling me, "Uh, we have a department that does that."

That's funny because I've spoken for clients like IBM, Microsoft, TD Bank, Merrill Lynch, and Accenture and I'm pretty sure THEY all have marketing departments too!

By this logic, no Fortune 500 company would hire a sales speaker because:

They have a sales department.

No large organization would hire an outside training company because:

They have a training department.

No multi-national corporation would use a recruiting firm because (say it with me, now):

They have a recruiting department.

So what should YOU do to avoid (or recover from) RBI?

Acknowledge it - love it - embrace it.

Corollary: If you can't market and sell to ignorant people who give you stupid excuses, you're going to have a very brief career in sales.

Oh, damn... was this microphone on?

Back to the show...

The tricky part is you never know when you're going to run into this particular brand of stupidity so I don't recommend doing anything differently up front.

Once RBI rears it's ugly head, your best chance at a recovery is what I call CSI. This stands for Complement and Supplement In-house efforts.

Here's a sample phone conversation or an email reply back to little Susie Creamcheese* at the global HQ of the Moron Corporation above:


Thank you for your note. I understand completely.

Most organizations that I work with also have a robust marketing department.

They value the programs we collaborate on precisely because I help them with strategies, tactics and tools that complement and supplement what they're already doing in-house.

I'm attaching a brief overview of the program I'm proposing along with 5 testimonial letters from clients in your industry who have a strong central marketing function AND who had great things to say about the results of our work together.

Worth a 10-minute phone conversation? Let me know either way and thanks in advance for considering it.

-- David Newman
[signature block]


Eat that, Jack.

RBI has met CSI and it's game over.

Hope that was as good for you as it was for me.

Little Susie Creamcheese is a favorite saying of my speaking colleague, David Yoho. Hire him. He's awesome.

* Grab this free "Sell More Speaking" web training>> 

Screen Shot 2019-01-10 at 9.39.56 AM

Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing speaker, marketing concept, professional services marketing, trusted advisor marketing, marketing professional services firms, sales rejection, small business coach, marketing coach, small business marketing, marketing for consultants, doit marketing, small business marketing speaker, sales and marketing

Marketing Concept: More Success = Get Off Your Ass!

marketing concept tAs a marketing concept, it's hard to find a more basic one than this: 

Get. Off. Your. Ass.

Yes, you!

Yes, right now!!

Here's a quick test to see whether or not you might benefit from APPLYING this revolutionary marketing concept: 

  • Are you tired of endlessly chasing prospects and "tire kickers"?
  • Do you get frustrated because your clients just don't seem to listen to you?
  • Have you ever worked all day and felt like you got nothing done?
  • Let's be real...have you considered packing it in and just getting a J.O.B.?

If this sounds familiar, then I have a solution for you.

Want to know what it is?

Are you sure??

You may not like the answer... it is.

You have to Get Off Your A$$ and Make it Happen!

(See, I warned you.)

Here's the good news. My friend Sean Carroll has a program that will show you exactly WHAT to do and HOW to do it, once you make the decision to Get Off Your A$$ 

By taking advantage of this FREE video training series, you will:

  • Launch your "prosperity cycle" that will REPLACE the "feast or famine" sales cycle

  • Unlock the strategies to close more business, and generate more referrals NOW without being pushy

  • Gain the tools to build trust and rapport with prospects quickly using 5 simple but powerful phrases

  • Learn  the 7 essential traits of the Get Off Your A$$ Mindset - and how to apply them to YOUR life or business

Here is your ticket to the free series

Sean rocks - and once you're done absorbing and applying his powerful system, YOU will too!!

Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing concept, marketing professional services, marketing ideas, marketing coach, marketing consultant, small business marketing, small business marketing speaker, marketing tip

Marketing Coach: 5 Ways to Use Email Without Getting Sucked In

marketing speaker marketing coach emailLike you, I struggle with email.

You probably find yourself...

a. Getting too much email (Duh!)

b. Spending too much time on email

c. Getting sucked into long sessions of email reactionary time (aka swatting email flies)

d. Confusing your all-important business productivity with the amount of email you read, reply to, and process in a day

e. Wondering what happened to all those high-priority money-making tasks that you promised yourself you'd get done today

As a marketing speaker and marketing coach, I know that email is simply a reality of how you do business, how you serve your clients and how you make a living.

And you're probably like most of my clients and audiences in that you've tried dozens of ways to loosen the grip that email has on you day and night - at your computer, on your smartphone, on your iPad and even in your brain cells.

That's right - email is even stuck in your brain. C'mon, admit it - you've had dreams about your inbox.

Sad but true. There's no shame in it - and you're definitely not alone!

Over this past weekend, I made a commitment to stay OFF of email.

Bad news - it didn't work.

Good news - I found 5 great workarounds for USING email without getting SUCKED IN.

Here are the 5 specific strategies you can use to laser target your email activity - and get some important things done in 5 minutes or less without the distraction of looking at the hundreds of messages hopelessly piling up by the minute in your inbox:

1. Targeted Search. Use your email program's search feature proactively when you want to find something in particular. I recall having gotten an email last week from Staples that I had some Rewards bucks that were going to expire soon. I jumped into the search box, typed "" and in 60 seconds, I was printing out my discount coupons and on my merry way to the Staples website and AWAY from my inbox! Like an email commando - quick in, quick out.

2. Send from the Hip. On Saturday, I wanted to send a quick note to a client about our next appointment. Your usual routine is probably like mine - we send from the inbox screen. And there are ALL those distracting messages clamoring for our attention.

It doesn't have to be that way.

This time, I opened my email and immediately hit the Compose button. The new blank email filled my screen. I addressed the email, popped in my subject line, typed out a short note to my client, hit send and immediately closed out of email. Like an email ninja - Silent but deadly!

3. Rapid Reply. Ever get that nagging feeling that you have some unfinished email business - but you just can't quite remember what it is? Then it hits you in the middle of the night: reply to Bob about his pricing question! So you pad downstairs at 2am, sit down in front of your email - and pretty soon it's 4am because you got sucked in.

It's not unusual for folks to spend 2 hours on email, get up from your desk, and realize that you forgot to take care of the original issue that you sat down to email about in the first place. Yikes!!

Here's the answer - and it builds on the targeted search technique. First, search for Bob's email address. If you can't remember it, search for his company name, the word "pricing" or anything else you recall from your last email exchange. Your search results should fill your screen and replace the inbox view.

Once you find the email in question, hit reply, compose your answer, attach any needed documents, and close out of email.

The goal is to use the Rapid Reply technique without looking at your inbox contents - or if you do catch a glimpse, deploy some self-control and consciously do not LOOK at your inbox contents for the few seconds they may be visible on your screen. Good job!

4. Deep Dig. I wanted to find a specific Wikipedia tip that I remembered was buried in an email newsletter I receive. This newsletter is one of about a half dozen that I've subscribed to for years and read regularly. The content is so good that I keep most of the back issues in an email folder I call "Research."

When I sat down to find this tip over the weekend, I did NOT want to get sucked into email. So again, my starting place was the Targeted Search technique (above). But then because these newsletters are so content-packed, I also needed to search the body text of the emails that came up in the search results. Also because I knew this email was almost surely in my "Research" folder, I limited my search to that location.

I tried searching for "Wikipedia" only to realize that this newsletter editor frequently references that site for additional info on the topics that she covers. Then I searched for a few more key words and short phrases. Finally, I remembered the person who submitted the tip and used the above search criteria in combination with his name - bingo! Two entries found. One from 2009 and one from 2011. The older one contained the gem I was looking for. 

Did I spend some "deep dig" research time? Yes indeed. Did I waste any time getting SUCKED IN to email hell? Nope - and you won't either if you stay focused.

5. Do a Money Pass. This final technique I've imposed on myself to specifically combat getting sucked in to email. When you have a backlog of emails waiting in your inbox (for example, my count right now is 226 because I wanted to write this blog before getting sucked into email!!), you need to put on your money goggles.

With those money goggles firmly secured over your eyeballs, go bravely forth into your inbox. Ruthlessly ask yourself this question over and over as you survey your inbox contents: "Will replying to this email make me money?"

For example...

a. Is it a current paying client?

b. Is it an active prospect moving through your sales process?

c. Is it a past client who has paid you money?

d. Is it a referral or other note from one of your advocates, allies or partners?

e. Is it a new lead or opportunity to sell more products, services or programs?

Once you do your Money Pass, you can relegate the rest of your email processing to some down-time or other non-peak "admin" time.

As my friend Marsha Egan says, "Email is not your job."

Put that up on your wall where you can see it clearly from your computer! VERY big insight, if you ask me.

Finally, here are two excellent resources if you want to go further with your inbox management and overall personal productivity:

1. Marsha Egan's awesome InboxDetox program.

2. Franklin Covey's personal productivity tools.

Using these 5 strategies plus some intentionally applied will-power (which will become easier the more you use the 5 strategies!) you will take back control of your time, your day and your life!

p.s. If you'd like some personalized help - and your very own customized marketing and sales toolkit PLUS an easy-to-implement small business marketing game plan with 1-on-1 guidance for 90 days, get all the details here.


Tags: marketing speaker, marketing success, marketing concept, success tips, small business marketing, doit marketing, small business marketing speaker, marketing tip, doitmarketing

Marketing Mix: You’ll Thrive or Starve By These 3 Calendars

marketing speaker marketing calendarAs a small business marketing speaker and small business marketing coach, I know you're probably wearing lots of different hats in your small business, and it's tough to keep all the areas of your business running smoothly all the time.

Think spinning plates or juggling balls. What's worse is that when time is tight, your least favorite tasks (often marketing and sales) get neglected, and your business suffers.

To keep your business running smoothly, don't rely on your memory or your never-ending to-do list.

You'll thrive or starve by three calendars: an Editorial calendar, a Marketing calendar, and a Sales calendar.

If you set up these calendars and then rely on them, your business will hum along, growing and thriving as you regularly accomplish all you need to.

Let's take a look at each of these three calendars to find out how they work their magic.

Editorial Calendar

As you know, content is king when it comes to today's inbound marketing environment. To get noticed and to be recognized as an authority in your industry, you've got to produce timely, quality content, and you've got to do it regularly. Set aside a time on your calendar for each of the following tasks:

Email Newsletter. An email newsletter lets you communicate with customers you've already tapped into. These customers will be your repeat business if you stay fresh on their minds. Quality email newsletters include articles and news that your customers can't get anywhere else like invitations to exclusive events, industry updates, valuable resources, and timely articles that offer real value.

Blog. An updated blog tells your customers that you're an authority in your industry, that you're with-it, and that you are responsive to their needs. One of the greatest benefits of a blog is that you can build a genuine two-way relationship with readers. They can comment and ask questions, and you can show your knowledge and responsiveness as you reply.

Offline Publications. Your internet presence is priceless, but don't discount offline publications. Articles in national trade publications, association magazines, industry journals and major newspapers may reach an entirely different audience than your blog and social media. 

Guest Posts. Writing guest posts for outside blogs is a great way to reach more people and send more traffic back to your own website.

Article Marketing. Once you've written an article or paid a writer to write one for you, use it to your best advantage. Syndicate it so that it appears on many different websites, increasing your web presence and generating more traffic to your business website.

Marketing Calendar

Like your editorial calendar, your marketing calendar will ensure that important tasks are done on a regular basis, including your least favorite tasks. Make sure you have the following items on your marketing calendar:

Email. Nothing kills interest like unresponsiveness. If you don't respond quickly to emails, potential clients and customers will turn to someone who does respond quickly. Checking and responding to email should be on your marketing calendar every day.

Promotions and offers. Regular promotions and special offers keep you top-of-mind. Put your promotions on your marketing calendar, and use your editorial calendar to inform readers and customers about upcoming promotions.

Outreach. Put your business out in the community regularly by setting up booths at targeted trade shows or sponsoring events aimed squarely at your target market. Outreach may show up on your calendar much less frequently than other marketing tasks, and that's fine. But if it's on your calendar, you're much more likely to make the preparations necessary to participate in such events.

Web. Web marketing, whether it's paying for Google ads or finding appropriate blogs to comment on, takes some time, and it's very easy to push this task aside. Assign an hour or so each week to web marketing. Track your web marketing success over several months to see if you need to spend more time on it.

Sales Calendar

Developing and using a sales calendar will help you to stay on top of more personal tasks. Coordinate your sales efforts with your other calendars.

Calls. Set aside some time each day to make and return phone calls. If you work in an office, warn your co-workers that you'll be unavailable during this time.

In-person meetings. Even though phone and video conference work well for catching up, there's nothing like an in-person meeting for solving problems and getting on the same page. Put these meetings on your calendar as frequently as you think you need them.

Follow-ups and Decisions. Schedule a time for following up on leads and for collecting decisions from prospects you've had initial conversations with. By scheduling this time, prospects will meet your deadlines more often, and your sales funnel will operate more reliably.

It may seem intimidating to set these calendars up, but once you do, you'll find that you feel less stressed and more able to meet the demands of your day when you abide by them. With slots for each important task, you may even feel that you have more time for your favorite tasks - like running your business and serving your clients.

marketing coach marketing speaker sos

p.s. If you'd like some personalized help - and your very own customized marketing and sales toolkit PLUS an easy-to-implement small business marketing game plan with 1-on-1 guidance for 90 days, get all the details here.

Tags: marketing speaker, marketing concept, business plan, trusted advisor marketing, small business marketing expert, marketing coach, small business marketing, marketing mix, doit marketing, small business marketing speaker, marketing tips

Marketing Speaker: 10 Keys to Presentations that Rock

marketing speaker marketing coach slidesAs a marketing speaker and marketing coach, I not only GIVE lots of presentations, I SEE lots of presentations - both at the conferences and meetings I attend and for my clients as we collaborate on improving their OWN speaking and marketing effectiveness. 

Here are the 7 deadly sins of presentation design - and then you'll get 10 keys to presentations that rock (courtesy of our friends at SlidesThatRock): 

7 Deadly Sins of Presentation Design

1. Too much text

2. Too much jargon

3. Appeal only to head, not heart

4. No new point of view, perspective, or opinion

5. Preach and teach, rather than "how and wow"

6. Quoting dead white guys - it's not a book report!

7. No call to action or "easy, effortless, enjoyable" (EEE) payoff

And now - here's some visual eye candy to help you do it better, smarter, and faster...

10 Keys to Presentations that Rock

What do you think? Please use the COMMENTS area below to share your presentation advice, insights and recommendations.

Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing speaker, persuasive speech topics, professional speaker marketing, marketing ideas, marketing coach, small business marketing speaker, presentation design

Trusted Advisor Marketing: Why You're Asking the WRONG Question

Marketing expert marketing speaker og adThe ad above first appeared in Business Week in 1958 – yes that’s right over 50 years ago! The moral of the ad’s story was relevant then and it is even more relevant today: build relationships before you sell.

The bad news is that we live in far more cynical times than the sellers of the 1950’s; the good news is that YOU have so many more tools available to help you address the problem.

If you're investing in "Trusted Advisor Marketing" (it goes by several other names like inbound marketing, thought leadership marketing, and content marketing)... then you've probably asked yourself: 

How (and when) will this generate a sale?

And that is the completely WRONG question to ask.

By the time you're done reading this article/ rant/ manifesto, you'll see exactly why - AND you'll be able to ask (and answer) much better questions for your business right away. 

We interrupt with a brief metaphor... Asking when trusted advisor marketing will lead to a sale is like filling up your car's gas tank and asking, "Why aren't we there yet?" 

Answer: Because filling your car with gas is a NECESSARY but NOT SUFFICIENT step to getting you to your destination (a new customer or client).

Do you have a chance of arriving now that your gas tank is full? You bet.

Did you have a chance of getting there with your tank on empty? No way. 

Let's move on... 

Insight #1 You need to sell the same way that YOU buy.

Look at your email spam or bulk email folder. Yes, you. Yes, right now. I'll wait... 

tap... tap... tap... tap... You're back. Excellent.

Did you see that spam email from the toner cartridge company? Did you catch the pitch from the SEO firm that filled out your website's "contact us" form? Did you respond to that great deal on vacation cruises? NO? 

OK now pop over to your paper mail pile on your desk. Did you check out the latest "triple play" offer from Comcast (or whatever hellacious Cable Satan runs in your neck of the woods)? How about that compelling cell phone offer from Verizon? The Wall Street Journal subscription offer under that postcard? Or how about that postcard - you know, the one from the home heating oil company? NO? 

When's the last time you gave your credit card number over to a cold caller who interrupted your family dinner? NEVER??

I'm shocked...

Because you seem pretty excited about YOUR cold calls - and sending out YOUR spam - YOUR offers - YOUR postcards - YOUR sales messages.

The problem with doing it this way? In four words...

Zero. Value. For. Prospects.

And hello? YOU don't BUY this way. What in the world makes you think your prospects DO?

Look once more at the ad above - and answer one simple question: 

Question #1: What VALUE have I ADDED to my prospect's world in order to EARN the RIGHT to INVITE them to a conversation and OFFER my solutions to their urgent, pervasive, expensive problems?

Insight #2 Referrals are great - but they are neither deaf, dumb, nor blind

The next thing you're going to tell me is that you don't NEED "trusted advisor marketing" because 99% of your business is repeat and referral business and it's always been that way and you don't see how this "newfangled marketing" is going to move the needle in closing more sales.

Do you seriously think that referrals don't check you out online before picking up the phone?

What messages are you sending to your valued referrals with...

a. Your outdated website (articles from 2008 are outdated, friends. And from 2003 even more so. And design aesthetic from 1997 most of all.)

b. Your sporadically updated blog that you leave dormant for 2 (or 4 or 6) months at a clip.

c. Your abandoned Twitter account you set up because someone said "you had to" and that now has 17 followers while your competitors have 3,000 (or a whole lot more.) 

d. Your sketchy, bare bones LinkedIn profile that has 300 connections but only 2 recommendations (From 2005. From people with the same last name as you.)

e. Your "glory days" articles and TV clips and PR placements from 20 (yes I'm serious), 10, or even 5 years ago. Nothing screams "has-been" like old media.  

Make no mistake: Getting repeat and referral business is great. But don't kid yourself that this absolves you from having a top-notch web presence, social media platform, and body of knowledge that is ultra-current, super-relevant, and obviously abundant.

In fact, you are leaving yourself open for EMBARRASSMENT if your advocates hear back from their referrals and find themselves in the awkward position of having to DEFEND you to them because your web presence has fallen behind and now casts your professional expertise into doubt.

Question #2: Does my overall web presence REASSURE and REINFORCE the referrals I earn with the most current, credible and relevant marketing messages, positioning, content, resources, and value that will make my advocates LOOK BETTER - not worse - for referring me? 

Insight #3 Trusted Advisor Marketing is a 4-layer enchilada (aka You don't get to eat the delicious golden-brown cheese without first layering on the meat!!)

trusted advisor marketing DOIT

The first layer - at the core of the matter - is your Reputation. Your work. Your track record. If you stop there, you'll have a VERY hard time attracting NEW leads and prospects to your doorstep. "My work should speak for itself" is what a lot of very smart people say - smart people who have a hard time making their mortgage payments.  

The second layer is Amplification. Ways to make your "signal" stronger. Enter social media marketing, niche PR, article marketing, blogging, keyword research and search engine optimization. This is the key to spreading your ideas and broadcasting your expertise.

The third layer is Leverage. This is where you begin to capitalize on your "trusted advisor" assets such as articles, blogs, videos, podcasts, interviews, white papers, special reports, book excerpts, and other value-first marketing tools. You can now reach out to high-probability prospects both individually (on LinkedIn for example) and collectively (on your blog for example). This is where your job becomes putting the right bait on the right hooks in the right lakes to catch the right fish.  

The fourth layer is Gravity. Just like Jim Collins talks about the "flywheel" concept in Good to Great (it takes a long time to get it spinning but then is very hard to stop because of the power of momentum) - this is where you start to see payoffs. More leads, better prospects, bigger opportunities, more conversations, higher profile alliances, more invitations to speak, publish, guest post, contribute, teach, and (drum roll please...) more invitations to do great work at premium fees for great clients who NOW know you, like you, and trust you enough to hand over 5- and 6-figure checks because their level of confidence in your expertise is pretty damn close to 100%.

Question #3: Do you want to make more sales to strangers? (Good luck with that). Or do you really want more people to recognize, respect, and request YOU by name when they have a need, project, or problem that they instantly see has "your name written all over it"? If that's your goal, then trusted advisor marketing is for you. 

Re-read the McGraw-Hill ad above and let's do a 21st century spin on it together...

  • I don't know who you are.
  • I don't read your blog. 
  • I don't subscribe to your newsletter.
  • I don't see your name in my industry's publications.
  • I don't hear my peers spreading your ideas.
  • I don't come across your content in Google searches.
  • I don't connect your solutions to my problems. 
  • I don't feel the gravity of your credibility or credentials.
  • I don't have any tangible way to gauge your expertise or experience.
  • Now -- what was it you wanted to sell me? 

So here's the ultimate (and most important) question for YOU: 

How can you realistically expect to SELL anything by NOT setting the necessary pre-conditions for ANY sale with Trusted Advisor Marketing?

The answer is as simple as it is obvious: you can't. Just like you can't drive your car from Denver to Sheboygan just by filling up your gas tank. You need to get behind the wheel, plan your route, use your GPS, add more fuel along the way (and probably some beef jerky and Sno-Balls and root beer) AND put in the hours and the miles to get you to your destination.  

Nobody -- and I mean N-O-B-O-D-Y -- hires speakers, consultants or professional services firms sight unseen. You wouldn't. I wouldn't either.

And the facts prove out that today's buyers are just like YOU and ME. 

Trusted Advisor marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. And as any marathoner will tell you - the best (and only) way to run a marathon is one mile at a time. 

What do you think? Please post YOUR COMMENTS below and... 

trusted advisor marketing for speakers, consultants, experts

Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing speaker, marketing strategy, thought leadership marketing, marketing professional services, professional services marketing, trusted advisor marketing, small business marketing expert, public relations, professional speaker marketing, marketing ideas, marketing strategist, marketing consultant, small business marketing, thought leadership, small business marketing speaker, content marketing, inbound marketing

Marketing Coach: 13 Marketing Questions for a Brilliant Q2

marketing coach action planThis email just came across my desk from marketing speaker and marketing coach Machen MacDonald...


The first 90 days of 2012 are in the bag. How did you do?  

Are you on track for hitting your annual goals?

Consider using the powerful questions below to help you and your team reflect, re-calibrate and project increasing results.

Reflecting on Q1:

1.  What was your biggest triumph in Q1?
2.  What was the smartest decision you made in Q1?
3.  What one word best sums up and describes your Q1 experience?
4.  What was the greatest lesson you learned in Q1?
5.  What was the most loving service you performed in Q1?
6.  What is your biggest piece of unfinished business in Q1?
7.  What are you most happy about completing in Q1?
8.  Who were the 3 people that had the greatest impact on your life in Q1?
9.  What was the biggest risk you took in Q1?
10. What was the biggest surprise in Q1?
11. What important relationship improved the most in Q1?
12. What compliment would you liked to have received in Q1?
13. What compliment would you liked to have given in Q1?
14. What else do you need to do or say to be complete with Q1?

Re-calibrating and Creating a Compelling Q2:

1. What would you like to be your biggest triumph in Q2?
2. What advice would you like to give yourself in Q2?
3. What is the major effort you are planning to improve your financial results in Q2?
4. What would you be most happy about completing in Q2?
5. What major indulgence are you willing to experience in Q2?
6. What would you most like to change about yourself in Q2?
7. What are you looking forward to learning in Q2?
8. What do you think your biggest risk will be in Q2?
9. What about your work, are you most committed to changing and improving in Q2?
10. What is one as yet undeveloped talent you are willing to explore in Q2?
11. What brings you the most joy & how are you going to do or have more of that in Q2?
12. Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving & serving in Q2?
13. What one word would you like to have as your theme in Q2?

By investing just 15-20 minutes right now and really thinking through these questions you can dramatically impact the next 90 days in your life and in your business. 

Isn't it worth the small fraction of your time? 

To your continued success,

Coach Machen (530) 273-8000

ProBrilliance! Leadership Institute

Tags: consulting firm marketing, professional services marketing, trusted advisor marketing, entrepreneurship, small business marketing expert, small business coach, professional speaker, professional speaker marketing, motivational speaker marketing, small business marketing, small business marketing speaker

Marketing Concept: 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Naming Your Business

Guest post by Phillip Davismarketing concept naming branding

Naming a business is like laying the cornerstone of a building. Once it's in place, the entire foundation and structure is aligned to that original stone. If it's off, the rest of the building is off, and the misalignment becomes amplified. So if you have that gnawing sense that choosing a name for your new business is vitally important -- you're right. With 18 years in the naming and branding business, I've witnessed the good, the bad, and the really bad. Here's how you can avoid the worst of the mistakes and get off to a good start.

Mistake #1: The Committee (Getting all your clients, employees and family members involved) 

We live in a democratic society and it seems like the right thing to do- involving everyone in an important decision. This approach, however, presents a few problems. The first and most obvious fact is that you will end up choosing only one name -- so you risk alienating the very people you are trying to involve. Second, you often end up with a consensus decision, resulting in a very safe and very vanilla name. A better method is to involve only the key decision makers, the fewer the better, and select only the people you feel have the company's best interests at heart. The need for personal recognition can skew results-- so you are best served by those who can park their egos at the door. Also make sure you have some right brain types in the mix. Too many left brains and the name often ends up too literal and descriptive. 

Mistake #2: The Train Wreck (Taking two words and colliding them head on) 

When forced to come up with a creative name, many aspiring entrepreneurs will simply take part of an adjective and weld it onto a noun. The results are names that have a certain twisted rationale to them, but look and sound awful. Someone starting a high end service franchise then becomes QualiServe. It's a bit like mixing chocolate syrup with ketchup- nothing wrong with either but they just don't go together. Other common truncations include Ameri, Tech, Corp, Tron, etc. The problem with this approach is that it’s simply forced – and it sounds that way. 

Mistake #3: Where's Waldo? (Names so plain they'll never stand out in a crowd) 

The first company in a category can get away with this one. Hence you have General Motors, General Electric, etc. But once you have competition, it requires differentiation. Imagine if Yahoo! had come out as It would be much more descriptive, but hardly memorable. And with the onslaught of new media and advertising channels, it's more important than ever to carve out your niche by displaying your uniqueness. Nothing does that better than a well conceived name. 

Mistake #4: The Atlas Approach (Using a map to name your company) 

In the zeal to start a new company, many businesses choose to use their city, state or region as part of their name. While this may actually help in the beginning, it often becomes a hindrance as a company grows. One client came to me with complaints he was serving more of the market than his name implied. He had aptly called it St. Pete Plumbing since he hailed from St. Petersburg, Florida. But yellow page shoppers assumed that was also his entire service area. With a little creative tinkering we changed the image of St. Pete from a city to the image of St. Pete himself, complete with wings and a plumber's wrench. The new tag line? "We work miracles!" 

Other companies have struggled with the same issue. Minnesota Manufacturing and Mining was growing beyond their industry and their state. To avoid limiting their growth they became 3M, a company now known for innovation. Kentucky Fried Chicken is now KFC, de-emphasizing the regional nature of the original name. Both of these companies made strategic moves to avoid stifling their growth. Learn from them and you can avoid this potential bottleneck. 

Mistake #5: Cliché you say? (A good name is worth a thousand words) 

Once past the literal, descriptive stage, the thought process usually turns to metaphors. These can be great if they are not overly used to the point of trite. Since many companies think of themselves as the top in their industry, the world is full of names like Summit, Apex, Pinnacle, Peak, etc. While there is nothing inherently wrong with these names, they are just overworked. Look for combinations of positive words and metaphors and you will be much better served. A good example is the Fortune 1000 data storage company Iron Mountain, which conveys strength and security without sounding commonplace. 

Mistake #6: Hide the Meaning (Make it so obscure, the customer will never know!) 

It’s great for a name to have a special meaning or significance. It’s sets up a story that can be used to tell the company message. But if the reference is too obscure and too hard to spell and pronounce, you may never have the opportunity to speak to that customer. They will simply pass you by as irrelevant. So resist the urge to name your company after the mythical Greek god of fast service or the Latin phrase for “We’re number one!” If a name has a natural, intuitive sound and a special meaning, it can work. If it’s too complex and puzzling, it will remain a mystery to your customers. This is especially true if you are reaching out to a mass audience. 

I pushed the envelope a little on this one myself, naming my branding firm Tungsten, after the metal that Thomas Edison used to create brilliant light. However, my clientele consists of knowledgeable professionals who appreciate a good metaphor and expect a branding firm to have a story behind its name. It’s also a way to differentiate my services (illuminated, bright, brilliant). So while it works for a branding firm, it would not do well as an ice cream parlor. 

Mistake #7: The Campbell’s Approach (Using alphabet soup to name your firm) 

This is a trend that is thankfully wearing off. Driven by the need for a matching domain name, many companies have resorted to awkwardly constructed or purposefully misspelled names. The results are company names that sound more like prescription drugs than real life businesses. Mistake #2 sometimes gets combined with this one and results in a name like KwaliTronix. (Or worse- mistakes #2 , #4 & #7, resulting in KwalTronixUSA). It’s amazing how good some names begin to sound after searching for available domain names all night. But resist the urge. Avoid using a “K” in place of a “Q” or a “Ph” in place of an “F”. This makes spelling the name, and locating you on the internet, all that much harder. 

It’s not that coined or invented names cannot work, they often do. Take for example, Xerox or Kodak. But keep it mind, names like these have no intrinsic or linguistic meaning, so they rely heavily on advertising – and that gets expensive. Many of the companies that use this approach were either first in category, or had large marketing budgets. Verizon spent millions on their rebranding effort. So did Accenture. So check your pocketbook before you check into these type of names. 

Mistake #8: Sit On It. (When in doubt, make no change at all) 

Many business owners know they have a problem with their name and just hope it will somehow magically resolve itself. The original name for one of my clients was “Portables”, which reminded some people of the outdoor restrooms or the portable class rooms- neither one a good association. This added to the confusion when phone operators tried to explain their new concept of moving and storage. After some careful tweaking, we came up with the name PODS, an acronym for Portable On Demand Storage. The rest is quickly becoming history as they expand both nationally and internationally. Peter Warhust, President and one of the original founders states, “For the record, changing our name to PODS was one of the best moves we ever made”. 

Exercise Experience, a former Florida based company, was frequently confused with a health club. In reality, they sold very high-end fitness equipment. This brings up a very key point -- it’s better to have a name that’s gives no impression than a name that gives a wrong impression. Much of the ad budget we spent on Exercise Experience was used to clarify that they sold fitness equipment. This was valuable airtime that could have been put to better use selling the equipment rather than explaining the business. Ultimately, the company folded. It’s not to say it was solely because of the name, but I believe it was a factor. 

Mike Harper of Huntington Beach, CA, bought a thirty-year old janitorial and building maintenance company named Regency. We both agreed it sounded more like a downtown movie theatre than a progressive facilities management firm. After a thorough naming search, we developed the name Spruce Facilities Management. Spruce not only conveyed the environmentally friendly image of a spruce tree, (something important to the client), it also meant “to clean up”. The new tag line fell right in place – Spruce… “The Everclean Company”. 

It’s only a matter of time before Southwest Airlines and Burlington Coat Factory and others who have successfully outgrown their original markets begin to question their positioning. Much like 3M and KFC, they may need to make a change to keep pace with their growth and image. 

In the fever to start your new business or expand a current one, take time to think through some of these issues. According to the late Henry Ford, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it”. Albert Einstein took it one step further claiming, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. By tapping into your creativity and avoiding these potential pitfalls, you’ll be able to create a name that works both short and long term – one that allows for future growth. Like the original cornerstone of a building, it will support upward expansion as your company reaches new heights. 

Author's URL:
Phil Davis President Tungsten Brilliant Brand Marketing 

Phil’s life goal of “creating environments where people thrive” reflects his desire to assist in personal, professional and business growth. Phil founded and ran a full service ad agency for over 17 years and now works full time as a business naming and branding consultant. Phil resides with wife Michelle and four energetic offspring outside Asheville, North Carolina.

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Professional Services Marketing: Low Hanging Fruit

professional services marketing staceyHere is special treat for you: A 45-minute content-packed interview with marketing coach and professional services marketing expert Stacey Hylen of Business Optimizer Coach.

Simply right-click the link below and select "Save File As..." "Save Target As..." or "Download Linked File..." and save the digital audio file to your Desktop:

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Stacey and I share some rock-solid ideas to help you profit from "Low-Hanging Fruit Strategies to Rapidly Increase Your Sales" 

Stacey helps 6- and 7-figure entrepreneurs and professionals get more business, more profits, and more time off. 

NOTE: Don't forget to grab your Listening Guide and Resources that Stacey mentions during our interview. Grab your copy now at... 

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Marketing Coach: 7 Stupid Ways to Blow Up Your Sales Process

marketing speaker, marketing coach, marketing jackass awardThis week's Marketing Jackass Award goes to... me.

Why? Because I just conducted one of the WORST sales calls of my life. Yes, it was that bad.

Let's count the ways so that YOU can apply these 7 lessons to YOUR sales process. And so you never have to blow it like I just did.

1. Wrong prospect. I knew it in my bones even before we got on the phone. He doesn't fit, he's missing a lot of the DNA markers of our most successful clients, he's sort of "out there."

2. Wrong process. Did he read the material I sent ahead of time? No. Did he know what business we are in? No. Did he understand how we work and what we do - and WHY? No. Is this my prospect's fault? HELL NO - it's my fault for not following my own process (and not making SURE the prospect followed it too). The only thing worse than "wrong process" is NO PROCESS. And as a marketing coach, I've been guilty of that in the past as well, but this time it was all on me that I had a process that my prospect did not follow. I should have rescheduled the moment I found this out. But I didn't.

3. Wrong budget. Why, why, WHY do I keep having sales conversations with people whose initial inquiries start with the phrase "money is tight" or "I don't have two nickels to rub together." (I've gotten both of these - verbatim - in the last 5 days). If they claim poverty on the approach, they will not suddenly become millionaires on the call. Bring up money FAST and EARLY. Not your fees but THEIR own pricing, their ROI, their average sale, their customer lifetime value. Do that and you'll set the context for your fees as an investment and you'll be able to avoid the sticker shock when you drop a number on someone before you've established commensurate VALUE for them. 

4. Wrong words. Do you listen (TRULY listen) to what your prospects say in the first few minutes of your sales conversations? Can you identify when they are using the "right words" vs. the "wrong words" to indicate their readiness to move ahead, their understanding of the value that your products and services bring, and their level of sophistication as an educated consumer? If you did, you'd make more sales faster - and you'd stop wasting precious selling time with price shoppers, tire kickers and broke-ass losers. 

5. Wrong questions. Do you listen just as carefully - maybe more so - to the kinds of questions your prospect asks YOU during the sales call? Can you tell from THEIR questions if they are tracking with your best clients and customers? Can you identify their underlying urgencies and priorities based on the questions that they ask? Have you ever gently redirected a "bad" question with the phrase, "The real question I'm hearing you ask is... And the answer to that question is..." Examples of bad questions include fear-based questions that fixate on guarantees, warrantees, all that could go wrong, insignificant details and irrelevant metrics. 

6. Wrong bravado. When a prospect spends any significant amount of time telling me how successful they are, how financially lucrative their business is, how much money they make, and what kind of car they drive, I know we're not a fit. Here's the truth, folks: Successful people ARE successful. They don't TALK about being successful. Someone who brags like this suffers from low self-esteem - or even worse, he is a mental child who is still psychologically trying to impress their Mommy and Daddy who never loved them enough in the first place. Move on - and quick! 

7. Wrong fit. Put your current prospect in an imaginary lineup with your very favorite clients and very best customers - both past and present. Does this prospect fit? Do they belong there? Are they a natural extension of your business family? If not, that should be enough to get you to hang up the phone right then and there. Like attracts like. If your prospect would stick out like a sore thumb in your lineup of current clients, that means there is something seriously wrong and you should NOT allow that prospect into the circle of the clients whom you love working with - and who love you. 

Fail to heed these 7 warning signs and the best case scenario is that you'll waste a lot of precious time, energy and effort on the wrong prospects who won't do business with you anyway. And the worst case scenario is that you'll end up with a goofball client - or at the very worst, a "nightmare client from hell." 

Friends don't let friends blow up their sales process.

You're welcome.

I love you. 

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